East Lancs Tattooists Feel the Pain of the Cost of Living Crisis

Tattoo artist shares the issues that many East Lancashire businesses are facing due to pandemics and rising living costs.

James Monnery owns Tattoo Heaven and has been in New Chapel Street Blackburn for nearly 14 years.

James’ business slowed after the pandemic. Bookings were put on hold, and the cost-of-living crisis raised energy bills.

While the crisis hasn’t affected footfall post-pandemic, James’s energy bills have quadrupled, and Covid-19 caused the cost of PPE to triple.

James said: “Electricity is a big problem. It’s gone foolish, so that’s hit us quite complexly, and the studio sanitation bill has gone up.

“We’re fortunate because we are sponsored for needles & inks, but that isn’t the case for everyone.”

“Covid pushed the price of gloves, hazardous waste, and other items through the roof and kept it there, never lowering the costs.

“We used to pay £3 for a box of gloves, and now it’s £15; it’s ridiculous.

People are getting tattoos in houses illegally to save money.

“But, in the end, we’ll have to fix or conceal them, so you pay twice. Hepatitis cannot be covered up.

“While this has always been a problem, we see it more than ever.”

James has had to deal with a lot of cover-ups. Around four clients a week are looking for him to fix a poorly done tattoo.

He said: “This is not just a problem for tattoo artists.”

“My partner owns a hairdressing business, and people cut their hair themselves to save money but come to her when things go wrong. It happens across the board.

“The tattoos we have are unnecessary; they’re a luxury.”

If you have bills to pay, you cancel or don’t attend your tattoo appointment. That’s the biggest issue.

James revealed that, despite offering affordable prices compared to other tattoo artists in East Lancashire and the South, many people could not afford the pieces of art they desired.

He said, “We have customers that ask us for the cost of a large, intricate tattoo, and then when we give them a quote, they come back with smaller tattoos and lower quality.”

James Ford, who has been running Giant Peach Tattoo Studio for 17 years in Accrington, believes that artists feel the pinch as they overcharge.

He said, “Most tattooists overvalue themselves and charge outrageous prices for work that can be done reasonably by someone with less ego.”

“The cost of living will not affect the self-employed who charge whatever they like for their work.

The cost of living is likely to increase for those who pay the tattoo artists.

Fern, a Burnley 24-year-old, said she had been waiting to get a memorial tattoo for her grandmother but couldn’t because of money struggles.

She said, “I’ve wanted to buy one for a long time but have put off booking because if I cancel, I will lose the deposit. I need that money.”

“It is not a requirement. It’s depressing. This is the situation.”

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